Ouest France, Sept, 2016, L'artiste recontre le territoire, http://www.ouest-france.fr/bretagne/arzon-56640/au-moulin-de-pen-castel-lartiste-rencontre-le-territoire-4219833

Le Telegramme, July, 2016, La science et l'art s'associent, http://www.letelegramme.fr/morbihan/arzon/pen-castel-la-science-et-l-art-s-associent-07-05-2016-11059049.php?utm_source=rss_telegramme&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss&xtor=RSS-21

Le Telegramme, May 2016, Un cafe recontre jeudi dernier, http://www.letelegramme.fr/morbihan/arzon/parc-naturel-regional-un-cafe-rencontre-jeudi-dernier-16-05-2016-11069536.php
L.I. Art, Brigitte Engler, http://en.li-art.net/art-design/brigitte-engler

Ouest France, July, 2014, A Pen Castel une expo pour prendre son temps, http://www.ouest-france.fr/bretagne/arzon-56640/pen-castel-une-expo-pour-prendre-son-temps-2525782

Le Telegramme, May 2014, Brigitte Engler Expose Ses Broderies, http://www.letelegramme.fr/morbihan/arzon/moulin-brigitte-engler-expose-ses-broderies-05-05-2014-10153429.php

The Huffington Post, Feb, 2013 Imprints of Sidewalk Grafitti, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brigitte-engler/sidewalk-graffiti-_b_2615579.html

INTERVIEW -Awanted magazine, 2009.

Interview photo


1; Whether as a child or during the first part of your career, who or what were your earliest artistic influences?

 As a teenager growing up in France, reading and studying in school the poetry of Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Verlaine, I remember how hard it was to get it. To rid myself of this strange numbness I felt that prevented me from appreciating fully the work of these poets was the ultimate art quest of my youth. The disdain of “ les poetes maudits” for contentment and everything bourgeois, or their decision to go as far down as possible to reach new, unexpected heights through the “dereglement des sens”, the unruling of the senses prescribed by Rimbaud, resonated in the Punk movement, the most important cultural phenomena of our times, in the songs of Patti Smith and Richard Hell’s blank generation.

2; How have those influences carried through to your work today?

I showed some of my new street prints at the Bowman/Bloom gallery in the Nincompatibles show. Walking around my neighborhood with my dog, I find images and messages inscribed in the fresh cement of the sidewalks and I make mono-prints from these engravings.
Not so long ago, I went to a reading by Richard Hell at the New Museum where he read at one point his own translation of a segment of Baudelaire’s poem “ Invitation au voyage”.
I was really moved by it.
I would like to publish these prints and asked Richard if we could do a book together. What would be more appropriate as a text than his translation of Invitation au voyage?
 The prints would not illustrate the text but echo the poet, the city dweller, “ le flaneur”, wandering through the streets at the beginning of modernity.

3; Hailing from Paris, did you ever view American artists/art any differently than that of either France or other countries?

At the Beaux-Arts School in Paris, I was fortunate to study with the great art historian Gaetan Picon. He was amazing when he talked about the abstract expressionists but his class stopped at Rothko.
There was not a lot of  creative energy in painting in Paris, no vital artists community.
In Paris, my friends and I were into Duchamp , conceptual art, installation art. We were into the work of contemporary American artists as we were reading ArtForum. The big shots were Barry LeVa and Mel Bochner. But most of the time, we were just sitting in cafes, talking and playing on the pin ball machines.
In contrast, on my first trip to New-York, I visited artists in their big Soho lofts painting away, working with their intuition. It was not just the rational mind at work and it felt liberating somehow.

4; How is American culture and landscape conveyed through your work and has it changed over the years since you have lived here?

 Pretty soon after my first trip to New-York, my artist friend Annie Ratti, encouraged me to apply to the Whitney Program. Annie introduced me to Ron Clark, the head of the program, while he was in Paris, and we talked about the work of the philosophers Deleuze and Guattari, Barthes that I was reading. I got in and moved to New-York. I struggled in english with the signifier and the signified but the weekly visits of the great american artists, among them Vito Acconci or Phil Glass who came to talk about their work was extremely valuable. So the whole question of nationality bugs me. To have both cultures creates a dialectical situation that fosters creativity but since I have been working here for more than 2 decades, I would say that I’m making American art.

5;  Would you say your work is driven by form or content? (As in, does it develop from an idea/seek to express an idea, or is it more about formal aspects

 As Bob Dylan would say on his radio show: “ Through the mind and your ass will follow”. I’m definitely into Conceptual Art but art is experienced physically.
Marcel Duchamp came up with the ready-made and the origin of the loss of the origin. In my new prints, I revendicate the loss of the origin, the death of the traditional craft meaning the secular condition of an artwork. With Marcel Duchamp, in place of the object came the sentence that manifests the anything of the artistic status. In place of “ to make” came the sentence spelling the law of modernity “ Fais n’importe quoi”. It could translate as “Do whatever”.
There is nothing to look at, writes Didi Huberman in his great catalogue essay for the beautiful show I saw years ago at the Pompidou Center “ L’empreinte”, because there is no craft, no artistic work. There is no artistic work because there is only an imprint, that is a mechanical reproduction of reality.

6; How does your environment (i.e. hometown, cityscapes, rural landscapes, etc.) affect the work you create?

Everyone here was affected by 9/11. It’s a coincidence that I was going through my files and as the Towers were falling, I had in my hands an old print I had worked with before and saved. A scene of a panic on the Brookliyn Bridge on Memorial Day in 1883. It’s a bit of an obsession but this illustration, a wood engraving from the 1880’s, fascinates me. I enlarged it and cropped it. I made drawings and embroideries from it, both historical and decorative. Some of the drawings were published with a text on Panic by the French theoretician Sylvere Lotringer. Yet, I’m not done with this engraving, as I’m working more in between legibility and abstraction.

7; How significant is the contrast of using centuries-old techniques such as engraving, etching and printmaking in creating modern art?

 I’m interested in paradoxes within singular forms. The works I showed in Nincompatibles are anachronic.
In old printmaking techniques such as the wood engraving of the 1880’s or in the rudimentary sidewalk engravings, one can feel the body at work, speaking in silence and perceive the graphological aspect of the markings.
These prints are dialectical images: something that tells us as much about the contact ( the hand carving the markings) than the loss ( the absence of the hand in the print).

  Interview photo2  
REVIEW - Michelle Tea. -Blog.sfmoma.org/2009 - full article here

The Bowman/Bloom Gallery is in this sort of underground space, you take stairs down under the ground and find yourself in this very tiny white place that has you know art on the walls. Richard Hell’s had scrawled charcoal commentary and square blocks of bright color, plus some phallic illustrations that looked half like an instructional diagram and half like something scribbled on the wall of a men’s room. Richard Hell is of course an Original Punk, singer for Richard Hell and the Voidods whose album Blank Generation is full of the anthems of that time (70s) and place (NYC). He is also a writer and a painter. Walter Robinson is a painter, too, and I really liked his paintings, mostly small but one big one, portraits of women who appear to maybe be porn actresses or in the midst of some sort of sexed-up occupation. They almost looked a little paint-by-numbers-ish, with bold, fat, visible brushstrokes. I have one as my cell phone wallpaper right now. The final artist I’m not posting any photos of, cause they came out  lousy and this is tragic because her project is so genius: the artist Brigitte Engler is doing rubbings of things carved into the sidewalks of the Lower East Side. Messages, birds, and spiked helmets are some of the images she captured, and as this is a gentrified neighborhood whose charmed filth is famously vanishing, her project isn’t only clever and cool to behold, it is the sort of art that feel like a necessary historical document.
Michelle Tea. Blog.sfmoma.org/2009